Rep. Miller promotes education funds in stimulus bill

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman and Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, pumped up the House’s $825 billion economic stimulus package this morning in a conference call with reporters.

Joining him on the call were Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Rebuild America’s Schools Chairman Bob Canavan and United States Students legislatative director Angela Peoples.

“It’s critical that the federal government step in so that we don’t have a collapse in our education system,” Miller said. ” … We believe that this investment is critical to how we emerge from this economic downturn. We have been put on notice that if we are going to be competitive, we will need a better educated workforce than at any other time in our history.”

Education-related provisions worth $141 billion include cash to stablize cuts in education at the state level, money to modernize schools and a hike in college grants for lower income students.

The House is expected to vote later today on the stimulus bill, H.R. 1. The Senate version could come in a day or so. President Barack Obama had hoped to win bipartisan support for the bill, but it seems unlikely he will receive many Republican votes.

Click through for links to fact sheets provided by Miller’s office on the education-related components of the House’s $825 billion economic stimulus package … Continue Reading


Locals hail Ledbetter Act’s passage

The House of Representatives voted 250 to 177 today to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would clarify that every paycheck or other compensation resulting from an earlier discriminatory pay decision constitutes a Civil Rights Act violation. As long as workers file their charges within 180 days of a discriminatory paycheck, their charges would be considered timely.

This was the law prior to the Supreme Court’s May 2007 Ledbetter v. Goodyear decision, which made it harder for Americans to pursue pay discrimination claims. Former President George W. Bush had threatened to veto the bill, effectively killing it in the Senate last year; the bill now goes to President Barack Obama and will likely be the first major piece of legislation he signs into law.

All Bay Area House members voted for the bill, and some are hailing its passage as a major accomplishment.

From House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, the bill’s chief sponsor:

“The Supreme Court simply told bad employers that to escape responsibility for pay discrimination, all they need to do is keep it hidden for the first 180 days. But today, thanks to Lilly’s incredible courage and perseverance, Congress will reject this ruling for the millions of Americans suddenly now subject to legal discrimination.”

More reactions after the jump… Continue Reading


BART wants your cell phones to work better. Really.

Does anyone else see the irony in BART soliciting input from riders about how better to interface with their mobile and wireless technology? Like, maybe, cell phones? With cameras?

From: BART Updates
Date: Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 3:51 PM
Subject: Survey: BART mobile/wireless applications
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear BART rider:

We’re looking for ways to improve BART mobile and wireless applications and we’d like to hear from you! Please take a moment to complete this survey to help us better understand your mobile trip planning needs.

Note: You’re receiving this email because, when downloading the mobile BART QuickPlanner from www.bart.gov, you provided this email address and gave us permission to contact you. To unsubscribe or modify your subscription, please use the links below.



Bloggers not sorry to see OPD Chief Tucker go

Here’s some local blog buzz about Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker’s resignation — a move with distinct political implications for already-embattled Mayor Ron Dellums — this morning:

Brooklyn Avenue — “I have little to say about this except to point out that Dellums should have shown Tucker the door a long time ago, and the fact that he continued to defend Tucker and repeatedly persuaded Tucker not to resign (assuming the Tribune report is correct) speaks volumes about Dellums.”

Gene at Our Oakland — “Hmm…they’re properly funded, and according to Mayor Dellums’ address last night, properly staffed, so it seems more likely this was a case of quitting before being fired. Given the list of problems associated with his tenure, he probably decided it was time to get out of Dodge.”

Chris Thompson at the East Bay Express — “It’s not too late to revoke his pension, is it?”

V Smoothe at A Better Oakland (warning: explicit language if you click through): “The man has been an unmitigated disaster for four years, watched violent crime skyrocket at an almost inconceivable rate, and left our police department dripping with one scandal after another. The least he could do is have a modicum of grace as he leaves. But no. I couldn’t even imagine a worse thing to say? I’m shocked. Seriously. In total shock.”


Criticism for Arnold’s plan to cut mental health

Mental health advocates said today that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to divert almost $227 million from the Mental Health Services Fund for which California voters earmarked it just four years ago is – well, insane.

Schwarzenegger’s proposed 2009-10 budget calls for redirecting the money – raised by Proposition 63 of 2004, which enacted a 1 percent income tax on incomes of over $1 million to bankroll a Mental Health Services Fund – to instead fund the state’s Mental Health Managed Care program.

Well, it’s still going to mental health, right? That’s not the point – Schwarzenegger wants to use the money to backfill the state’s share of counties’ bill for caring for the Medi-Cal-eligible mentally ill, rather than for creation and expansion of community-based mental health programs, children’s services, preventative measures, workforce and training services and so forth for which Proposition 63 was intended. Net result: Less money for mental health.

The 54 percent of voters who approved that ballot measure “recognized the dire need to address decades of inadequate funding for mental health programs,” California Mental Health Directors Association executive director Patricia Ryan told reporters on a conference call this morning. Schwarzenegger’s proposal would roll back that progress, amounting to “a misguided attack on people living with mental illness who literally have no other option for shelter and healthcare” and causing “immediate harm to the most vulnerable in our state.”

More after the jump… Continue Reading